I've been working on some Valentine designs for this year and have come up with this swirly-scroll look in white with red detail. Each cookie is around 4" and made with this simple sugar cookie recipe. This recipe will help you make terrific looking and tasting cut-out sugar cookies. I decorated these hearts with tinted Royal Icing. Royal Icing is made with meringue powder and dries to a hard finish, perfect for intricate decorating details! I used white Royal Icing for the base of my cookie. I made the white icing the consistency of very heavy cream, piped the basic heart outline and filled in with the same icing. I used my mini offset spatula to smooth the white icing evenly over the cookie. I let this dry for 24 hours before starting the red scroll decoration. When making red icing always start a few days before you will actually need it because red icing develops its color over several days, starting out kind of pinkish and developing into the color you see above. The red icing is a stiffer consistancy so that is would keep my shapes and give a little dimmension to the overall design. I used a number 4 Ateco round piping tip and started making my scroll design over the white base. The icing needs to set for 24 hours before stacking or bagging. These cookies make terrific Valentine's Day gifts for all your sweethearts! Wrap each cookie in its own cellophane bag and tie with a big red bow! Try to bake some yourself! Enjoy!
These cookies are a terrific combination of dark bittersweet chocolate and rich espresso all wrapped up in soft powdered sugar - yum! The flavor is more "adult" as it has a very distinctive espresso flavor and i used bittersweet chocolate to further the "bitter" part of the cookie. The texture is fairly soft and brownie-like. The powdered sugar gives it that "crackled" appearance after baking. Each cookie is around 1 - 1 1/2 inches, so they are pretty small but they pack a rich powerful flavor! A couple of things i did differently: i used a dark dutch process cocoa powder and paired it with bittersweet chocolate instead of semisweet chocolate. I also just plopped the dough into a covered bowl and refrigerated it for around 30 minutes, then i used a small cookie scoop to make the rounds. After rolling them into little balls i froze them in the freezer until hard and then rolled them in the powdered sugar just before baking. By using the scoop and handling frozen/chilled dough there is much less mess on your hands! The recipe makes about 18 little cookies but the recipe could be easily doubled. I really like this recipe and am thinking this might make a nice Christmas Cookie addition. You can find the recipe here. Try them for yourself with a cup of espresso! Enjoy!
I am always on the lookout for a really good pumpkin cookie so when i came across this recipe for Iced Pumpkin Cookies it was time to breakout the silpat and get baking! These cookies do not spread when baking so you can place the dough fairly close together on the baking sheets. The cookies are moist and cakey, they stay in rounded shape even after cooling. I used raisins that had been soaked in rum and chopped toasted walnuts in the dough. The icing is really good a nice butter-rum flavor - I used regular rum instead of rum extract. The only problem is that the icing does not set up to a hard or fairly hard consistency. These cookies could not be easily packed in a bag or box for gift giving as the icing is kinda gooey! The cookie flavor is very good, slightly spicy from the cinnamon and allspice and the texture is light and cakey, no crunchy parts on this cookie other than the walnuts. I like how the rum soaked raisins pick up the flavors in the icing. These cookies are super easy to make and bake. Try them for yourself! Enjoy!
With the holidays behind us there comes the question of what to do with the leftover eggnog?? How about an Eggnog Pound Cake with Crystal Rum Glaze! Flo Braker has a terrific new baking book out called Baking For All Occasions. Flo Braker has authored many baking books and is also a guest columnist for the SF Chronicle blog site The SF Gate. While looking thru this latest book i came across the Eggnog Pound Cake recipe and decided to give it a try. I had left over currants (from the 30 fruit cakes!) and rum along with the eggnog, so i was ready to bake. Make sure to soak the currants in the rum very well. I actually cooked them in the microwave for around 15 minutes to make sure the currants were well reconstituted and plumped up. I used a Nordicware Bundt pan and lowered the temp. to 325 degrees to compensate for the dark colored baking pan. I also sprayed the inside of the pan with Pam for Baking very very well. Pam for Baking is great, the cake slid right of the pan! While the cake was cooling i mixed up the simple glaze to pour over the still warm cake. I topped it off with a little sparkling sugar to keep with the "crystal glaze' theme. This is a flavorful poundcake but i think i over cooked it a bit! I think the outside should be a little less brown and the inside a little more moist. Overall this is a tasty cake that could also double well as a breakfast treat. Enjoy!
Happy New Year 2009 to everyone! Hope this year brings joy and happiness to all! This is a pic of my gingerbread christmas tree that i made with leftover gingerbread from my gingerbread house! I cut out stars of decending sizes and stacked them up with blobs of royal icing "snow". When it dried, i made swags out of the royal icing and glued the star onto the top. I had a tiny candy cane cookie cutter so i made a bunch of candy canes to go around the bottom. I think you can buy special cutter sets to make a gingerbread christmas tree, i've also seen some made of snowflakes instead of stars. I know Martha Stewart makes mini wedding cakes out of cut-out circles of sugar cookies too! Enjoy!